A Living "Martyr" Met with John Paul II in Sofia

SOFIA, Bulgaria, MAY 27, 2002 (Zenit.org).- During his Bulgaria trip John Paul II personally met with an 80-year-old Carmelite nun who had spent 38 Communist-era years confined to a church.

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Sister Therese of the Infant Child Jesus and another nun found refuge within the choir of the Church of St. Francis after the Communists closed down their convent. The other nun died two years ago.

«I told the Pope that we sacrificed ourselves for the Church and that we had always remained faithful to the Church,» the religious told the Vidimus Dominum news service.

«Moreover, I wanted to thank him for his gesture of having come here among us,» said the nun. She met the Pope when he came to the Byzantine-rite Catholic monastery here Saturday.

The religious sister personally knew the three Assumptionist priests who were martyred in 1952 in Plovdiv and beatified by the Pope on Sunday.

The Carmelite convent here has eight nuns, three of whom are Slovak novices. When visiting the Byzantine-Slavic rite community, John Paul II gave a special greeting of «particular affection to the Carmelite nuns and to the Eucharistine Sisters» who were able to keep «the ideal of their consecration alive and to sustain with the prayer and penance the faith of Christians in their Lord.»

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